Parental engagement in a child's learning is typically imperative and required for a student to realize their true potential and this is a generally accepted fact for a number of reasons. However, the level of involvement that a parent or parents have with their child's learning at the pivotal and important secondary school level that connects elementary learning and college-level learning has to be balanced as going to either extreme can be harmful. Disengaged parents can obviously hurt secondary-level students but students that are too engaged or wrongly engaged need to be managed and massaged as well whenever possible because the damage can be just as bad if not worse than a disengaged parent.
It is customary and expected for parents to be highly involved in their child's learning at the elementary level and it is also common for parents to start to disengage once the child reaches college-level learning. This presumes the process did not already start at the secondary level which is often (and many say should be) the case. However, some parents are not all that seasoned on how to strike that balance properly and this can harm students majorly if either extreme is engaged in and for a litany of reasons. It can be disruptive to the child of the disruptive parents and/or it can impact people that are nearby the situation as well. In their own ways, a disinterested parent can be just as bad as a "helicopter" parent (Aleccia, 2013).
Many a pejorative are lobbied against parents that are disengaged or disinterested, whether this disinterest or disengagement is perceived or actual. That being said, it is generally not that hard to tell which kids have strong parental involvement with their learning and which ones do not. However, it has seemingly become more common for parents to overcompensate, be too aggressive with their children or school staff and/or not ceding responsibility and accountability to their child that is becoming a grownup.
The disengaged parents are the easier one to cover so that shall be done first. Many school proponents trumpet the idea that schools can be the stopgap for kids with bad parents but that is a hollow argument on a number of levels. If a child is hungry, not instilled with responsibility and accountability and otherwise raised appropriately by their parents or guardians, their chance of success in the school or future career worlds is fairly grim. Even if teachers and schools administrators slave away with a child that is being betrayed or ignored by their parents, any learning or motivation that is instilled at school will likely be lost when the child goes away for summer break for even for the night until the next school day. Sadly, all of the above presumes the school staff are competent and caring which is often not the case, but that is the topic for another report as the focus for this report is parental involvement.
As for the examples of improper or over-involvement, those are more varied and probably more tricky to combat. The first example of parental involvement gone awry is the installation of faulty values that clearly run counter to the societal and educational norms of society. This is not to say that parents do not have the inherent right to instill the values, both religious and non-religious, that they deem appropriate and the omnipresent co-existence between liberal and conservative ideals prove that there is more than one acceptable credo to have in life. However, there are certain ideals and facets of morality that are vastly abused by some parents up to and including misuse and abuse of drugs (legal or illegal), racist ideology (of any type or source), bullying behavior and so forth. This sort of depravity is often disguised and withheld from immediate public view of school staff and/or administrators but it can often come to light at the least opportune times (Romo, 2013).
A related, but definitely different, example of this in motion would include the topics and facets of life that are usually left to the parents and society to decide but are nonetheless covered in school for information reasons. For example, many schools try to teach the basics and history of Islam. The idea is a solid one since Muslims make up one billion people in the world and many of them reside in the United States. There is also the cultural sensitivity factor relating to Muslims being abused and stereotyped due to the actions of extremists committing terrorist attacks on 9/11 or at Fort Hood and other places. However, even a basic high-level view of Islam can lead to parents recoiling noticeably, early and often. This came to life in a school in Wichita, Kansas in the last few weeks before this report when it was shown via a picture that a mural had been posted on the wall that says "The Five Pillars of Islam" (Tobias, 2013). Many parents express immediate and vitriolic disdain and the story got national coverage on Fox News, among other outlets (Starnes, 2013). What was mentioned in passing (if at all) in a lot of the coverage is that the students were also learning about Christians, Hindus and other pervasive world religions as a means to educate rather than inculcate or indoctrinate people for or against any given religion. However, the parental reaction was no less caustic.
The salient point is that is being made above is that there are several "pressure points" that get parents screaming, at least with public schooling, and this would include just about any mention of religion (especially those religions other than Christianity but many atheist groups are being VERY aggressive about that as well), politics, abortion, bullying (or a perceived over-reaction to bullying), racial matters and so forth.
On a different tangent, there are parents who either push their child entirely too hard and/or are entirely too involved and disruptive as it relates to certain school activities. The nexus of this sort of thing tends to be high school sports where parents will often deride coaches for playing another child over their own or get into spats with one another up to and including fisticuffs. This has even reared its head at the elementary school level let alone secondary sports for near-adults (Burbeck, 2011).
A related, but in some ways much worse, example of this are "helicopter" parents who micromanage and harangue their children to the point that they are never given the privacy that they have earned and/or they are never allowed to learn and fail on their own. As this is a lesson that all of us must learn as we age through our teen years, this can set up a student for disaster when they reach adulthood and do not have the skills and traits needed to be self-sufficient adults (Aleccia, 2013). It is no surprise that with the rise of this phenomenon there is also a substantial increase in the number of "boomerang" children who return to their parents' home soon if not immediately after going to college or moving out or they just never move out of the parental home at all. It is true that the recent economic travails of the United States could be to blame for much if not most of that but to say that bad parenting is not a part of the problem is probably specious (Rowley, 2013).
Since parents are often the alpha and omega of how they raise their kids, the best stopgap to help guide them if they are noticeably getting out of line would be the school teachers and administrators. If it is clear that the work is not getting done at home and/or that the parents are part of the problem due to too much involvement or not enough, this needs to be made clear to the parents in a diplomatic but frank way. Schools do not have the time or the resources to do any psychological or psychiatric counseling nor than they really stop parents from engaging in disruptive behavior unless a crime is knowingly being committed, but school staff can certainly impart their observations and suggests at parent/teacher conferences and so forth so as to perhaps set off a proverbial light bulb with their parents that the road their kid is going down is probably not a very good one. Parents must be made to understand that the world of adulthood in the United States for unprepared and under-educated young adults can be quite ruthless, much more so than it can be for people that got a degree or vocational trade nailed down and thus protect themselves when the jobs are slim. The United States is a two trick job pony right now, in the form of the service sector and the knowledge sector, and anyone not in the latter will typically be in the former.
As noted before, the solution is to have the school and the parents strike…